Competition is all good fun, except when it is in a bar

“Would you like to look at a menu?” I asked the couple after furnishing each with a pre-dinner libation.

“No,” said the male half of the couple.

“We are eating elsewhere,” added the female half, telling me something I really didn’t need to know.

In my many years of waiting on the public I have observed some differences between men and women, especially when it comes to ordering. Men will often not give you enough information and women will give you too much. I long ago gave up on the why — it just seems to be.
But, then again, bars are different places for men and women. To wit I offer two phrases that I hear all the time:

• “They just wouldn’t leave us alone.”

• “I just want to be alone.”

I’ll let you assign the gender to each.

Such thoughts were put behind me as soon as the bar began to fill up. A couple taking advantage of the last few minutes of baby-sitting ordered drinks quickly and drank them quickly. When time is of the essence, subtlety often goes right out the window.

Two beer-drinking buddies stared transfixed at the TV. It didn’t matter what was on, because I changed the channel several times and they never said a word.
A businessman on a much-verbalized “hall pass” ordered a gin martini, stirred, presumably for difference’s sake. When stirring is all the rage, than shaking sets you apart or the other way around.

Another man sat next to two women too well appointed for a Wednesday night. But then in some employment situations, one’s Friday night out actually occurs midweek. Take that from one just so employed person.

Ten minutes later, a couple and then a woman arrived to flesh out the field. Every barman’s wish is to have a full bar and on this night it was a wish come true.
The woman sat next to Mr. Hall Pass. He looked at her briefly and then signaled that her first drink was on him.

One drink later and the conversation went a little like this:

“Thank you,” the blushing middle-aged beauty said.

“My pleasure.”

“What does your wife think of you buying other women drinks?” she asked, pointing at his wedding ring.

“We have an understanding.”

“Does she know that?”

“We haven’t actually discussed it,” he said. “It’s more of an unspoken arrangement.”

“Uh,” she said in a tone that suggested everything except for understanding. “Me, too,”

That comment made Mr. Hall Pass scoot closer. It also seemed to elicit some interest from the man sitting next to the well-appointed ladies. Blood in the water, one might say.

Emboldened by the overheard exchange, he leaned in close to the two women and asked, “Can I get you two something to drink?”

The women, who had been drinking house chardonnay, suddenly switched to premium chardonnay. After thanking him in unison they went right back to their own conversation.

“Do you ladies come here often?” he asked.

“We’re actually waiting for our husbands,” they said in unison, even though neither was wearing a wedding ring.

Meanwhile Mr. Hall Pass was now whispering in blushing beauty’s ear. Whatever he was saying seemed to be working because he also had his hand on her thigh.

It has been my experience that even the worst pickup lines work if they are uttered by the right people at the right time.

Meanwhile, the other man watched this development with some disdain. He took a long look at the two women who had so willingly accepted drinks only to blow him off, and then looked back at the blushing beauty.

He stood up immediately and walked over to her.

I didn’t like the looks of this. Whoever said, “a little competition is a good thing” obviously never worked in a bar.

“Let’s go,” he said to the blushing beauty.

“I thought you said that you wanted to see what happened,” she said in a familiar tone.

Neither I nor Mr. Hall Pass knew what to say, although Mr. Hall Pass quickly removed his hand from her thigh.

“I’ve changed my mind,” he said.

Leaving me with these thoughts:

• Be careful what you ask for. You just might get it.

• Never jeopardize a good thing for a new thing because you might end up with neither.

• There are some competitions that men can never win.